Apr 8, 2011

The Clark Kent Effect

The article below was written by Kevin Daigle of CFNE.  To our IMCF sisters, even though Kevin uses male refrences, we all know that you have a Big Red 'S' on your chest too!  Enjoy the article.

CrossFit appeals to us for a myriad of reasons; efficacy, fun, excitement, competition, etc.  There's many reasons we have for why, specifically, CF is for us.  However, there are a few central ideas that make the allure so strong.  The community, efficacy, and fun factors spring immediately to mind.  Also the MAS (mutually assured suffering, which is a fun way to express the group dynamic that pushes us to the brink) and the fact that it makes us look pretty good, so other people want to touch our bums. There's something else though, something intangible that's difficult to put into words.  Most of us experience it on a daily basis to varying degrees at CFNE (or in our case IMCF), but may not realize exactly what it is or perhaps haven't even thought about it until now.

What precisely "it is"...is hard to nail down....much like the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics, many concepts in CrossFit are impossible to understand and measure at the same time.  Also, like the Matrix no one can be "told" what "it is".....you have to see it for yourself.  It's something that makes us special, or at least makes us feel that way.  This is common among human beings.  The concept of "elite" is thrown around a lot in the CF world.  I think "elite" may be a misnomer though, there's definitely a better way to describe it.  I got the idea after a discussion I had with one of my fellow Sectionals competitors......I call it the "Clark Kent Effect."

People by and large have boring lives.  Most of us do the same things every day, i.e. get up at the same time, go to work, do the same things at work, eat the same things, pick the kids up at school etc.  We long for novelty, and for things that make us feel special or part of something special....we know this.  So enter CrossFit.  You show up at CFNE (or IMCF), and in NO TIME you're climbing up and down a 15' rope like a goddamn spider monkey, doing insane pull ups like a Russian gymnast on speed, running like a cheetah with Nitrous Oxide, and picking heavy shit up off the ground like a pissed off gorilla.  These are certainly not mundane, pedestrian tasks.  Without putting much thought into it - even if it's your first night at fight club - you already know it's something special.  What brings us to that level?  What elevates us to the point of traipsing through "normal" society with a proud barrel chest and a smirk that Chuck Norris couldn't roundhouse kick off your face?

You have become a superhero with a secret identity....a la the "Clark Kent effect."  As you walk through your daily activities, digging holes, or filing TPS reports, making sales calls, shuttling the kids around, or cooking dinner....no one is the wiser.  Of course people realize that you're fitter, look great, and have more energy.  They have NO idea what you're capable of ...but you do.  That little secret, one that's only revealed under the cover of darkness, or in the wee hours of the morning is your own.  This little nugget of power drives each of us to some degree or another.  Knowing that you possess superpowers that the average person does not; that in a fraction of an instant if called upon to undertake some monumental task, you could perform.  That perceptible status has an appeal for us.  Its even more justified than being a real superhero though, because you weren't born with special powers, or turned into some freak by radioactive spiders.  You earned your superpower with blood, sweat and power cleans.

We even have our own secret superhero lair....CFNE (we call it the 'bubble').  It's like our own personal Fortress of Solitude.  It's our place of peace and zen, where we go on a daily basis to hone our skills and become the most powerful superhero's on earth.  Much like the actual fortress of solitude, ours is a place where outsiders are weary of treading, and greatly misunderstand what happens within its walls.  Of course, only until they become brave enough to walk (and be welcomed) through the doors, and begin their own journey towards superherodom.

As crossfitters, we revel in doing that which terrifies the rank and file.  Things that most people wouldn't do if you paid them.  CrossFit doesn't make us special, it enables special people -  those of us with a certain force of will - to impose it on the universe.  Every one of us, like a true superhero, changes or affects the lives of others every day in the gym and in our daily lives.  I know personally that the people I train with in the night class every night at 6pm inspire, and drive me to excel with every burpee, double-under, pull-up, and dead lift.

Keep it up, you earned that smirk.  Each of us has a big red "S" on our chest beneath our shirts and wears a cape of  Luon hidden inside our clothes.  Crossfitters are everyday superheros (we have to be, we already bought the spandex).


Neal said...

Big thanks to Dave for coming out on a Saturday morning to judge. He even brought his iPod w/tunes to get me all motivated...awesome!

Got 14 rounds plus a squat clean this time. Good luck to everyone else knocking it out...get after it!

Rich said...

Ok, not the superman of IMCF, but I did get one round today of this weeks Games WOD. I couldn't get it thurs, but with a little coaching from Dave and Andrew, I got 165 and I am pumped. It was one only one round....but i got a new PR, and it counted. Thanks for the help fellas.

Dave Hudson said...

There was LOTS of IMCF awesomeness this weekend...

Neal increased his WOD 3 score by 2.5 rounds to 14.5
Carli increased her WOD 3 score by .5 of a round to 15.5
Elizabeth increased her WOD 3 score by 1.5 rounds to 11.5
Greg registered an awesome WOD 3 score of 17 rounds
I increased my WOD 3 score by 4.5 rounds to 22 rounds (which I attribute to the coaching of Andrew and Steve)
Rich got a new PR for the clean and jerk at 165 (which I believe is bodyweight for him) - so awesome!
Air Force Steve increased his WOD 3 score by 5.5 rounds (yes, you read that right...5.5 ROUNDS) to 26 (with, I might add, the first 22-23 being squat clean thrusters - i.e. no pause to jerk it overhead)

I think that the most awesome thing, though, was Andrew's second attempt at WOD 3. (Since he probably won't post it - or tell the complete story - I will - it was inspiring to me and helped me with my attempt.)

Andrew had gotten 16 rounds on Thursday; Saturday, he wasn't feeling quite right to do it again. So today (Sunday) it was. As many Squat Clean and Jerks as he could do in 5 minutes.

Once at Gruber, we discussed his game plan - i.e. how many reps per minute for his goal, etc. He was shooting for 20, with 6 in the first minute. Started off really well. In his 4th round jerk, though, he stumbled backwards, ran into the squat rack, dropped the weight, and missed the rep. I could see it in his eyes that he realized he wasn't going to make it to 20. Nevertheless, he got the bar back up, and got a successful jerk.

On the next round, he missed the squat clean, leaning too far back and losing the weight, falling down and letting the bar roll over him. He was now at 4 rounds, well over a minute into the 5-minute WOD and well off of his needed pace. Now he knew that he wasn't even going to beat - or even meet - his previous score. It's only logical what he would do now...cut his losses and stop the WOD.

But Andrew just kept going.

Andrew knew that he wasn't going to meet his goal; he wasn't even going to do as well as he had done just a few days ago. But he wasn't going to let the bar beat him. He wasn't going to let the WOD beat him. He wasn't going to let HIMSELF beat him.

Andrew just kept going.

In the end, Andrew ended up getting 10 rounds, 6 full rounds short of his previous score. Some would say that this was a failure. I don't. Andrew was victorious over the bar...over the WOD...and over any self-doubt.

THAT is what CrossFit is about, my friends. Don't let the bar beat you. Don't let the WOD beat you. Don't let YOURSELF beat you.

Just. Keep. Going.